Huerfano County, Colorado
Cokedale Mine Explosion

Cokedale Coal Mine Explosion, February 9, 1911

Colorado Springs Gazette Colorado 2-10-1911
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Trinidad, Feb. 9. -- Fifteen miners are entombed and may be dead as the result of an explosion in the Cokedale mine of the Carbon Coal and Coke company, eight miles west of Trinidad tonight. Seventeen men were in the mine but two shot firers escaped two hours after the explosion.
The force of the explosion was distinctly felt at Trinidad, and seems to have been greatest in the main slope. Timbers were blown 200 feet from the mouth of the slope, but the explosion seems to have been attended by no serious falls of rocks. The explosion wrecked the fan house but the fan was uninjured and is still working although the air has been "short circuited" by the blowing out of brattices and doors.
Twenty rescuers are working desperately to reach the more remote parts of the mine where the 15 men are supposed to have been working.
The rescue work is under direction of E. F. LAYLISS, general superintendent, and E. A. SUTTON, assistant superintendent, who led the first party into the wrecked workings. The rescue party has penetrated 2,000 feet along the main slope. At that distance black damp was encountered and helmet men are now making their way through the poisonous gas, bratticing the entries as they advance. Rescue Cars On Way.
Trained rescue men are being rushed to Cokedale from all over the district. The government mine rescue car in charge of J. C. ROBERTS, which was at Berwind, has been summoned, and the rescue car of the Colorado Fuel and Iron company is on the way to the wrecked mine.
There are five exits from the Cokedale mine, and none but the main slope was injured. It is hoped some of the men in the mine may make their way from one of these exits.
The two shot firers who escaped were working near the surface in No. 5 entry, and while both were overcome with gas, they were able to go to their homes without assistance.
There were no harrowing scenes around the pit mouth tonight such as have been common at other coal mine disasters. The miners on the surface are thoroughly organized and the majority are engaged in carrying supplies to the rescue party.
Cause Unknown.
The cause of the explosion is unknown, but it seems most improbable that it could have been an explosion of dust. Precautions against the accumulation of dust were most strictly enforced at Cokedale. The mine was furnished with water pipes throughout and a force of men was employed costantly in sprinkling and removing dust.
The Cokedale mine has been operated for four years and the camp was known as the model coal camp of America. The property is owned by the American Smelting and Refining company and supplies the Guggenheim smelters. It is said that more money has been expended in equipping the mine with safety appliances and modern equipment than at any coal mine in America.

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